Well 2014 is now over. Its been a pretty fantastic year, and that's an understatement. Its probably been the best year of my life, and the birding has been a major part of that. Its the first year I had done a year-list and also probably the first year where my birding has had any kind of weight behind it to make me get out and do some serious birding.
Over the year I managed to get 5 Megas, which is a very good return, especially since I only started serious twitching in the second half of the year. Of those 5 I have to say that the Issabeline Wheatear was my personal fave though all were smashing birds to see. I was a little gutted not to have got any photos of the Masked Shrike, especially considering how close it came, but the other four I managed decent photos of, the Blyths Pipit only 2 days ago.
-Eastern Crowned Warbler (Brotton 01.11.2014)
-Bridled Tern (Farne Islands, 08.06.2014)
-Isabelline Wheatear (Seaton Snook, 27.11.2014)
Of course, most of what I managed this year revolves around the fantastic job at Spurn point as the Little Tern Warden. It was great fun and I got to meet some great people whilst being part of a fantastic birding community. Through the job I volunteered at the migration festival and there I was able to finally meet some of the NGBs, a fantastic organisation promoting birding in young adults. While at Spurn I clocked up 15 lifers, and then an additional 6 on visits after my post had finished. It was also while I was at Spurn that I found my best ever bird, a stunning Osprey that flew right round the seawatching crew gathered giving me my best ever views of the species. A really nice bird to see. Even now, Spurn birders that were there mention it to me, about that bird.
I have not had much opportunity to get up to the patch this year, which is unfortunate as I really wanted to give it a good go like I should have done when I had plenty of free time to. I did see some super birds up there earlier in the year when I stumbled across the Ring Ouzels Nigel had seen in the morning, only my second time seeing this species and to have them on patch was great. They were great fun to track down, and one of the best birds I have ever seen up there.
-Ring Ouzel (Soil Hill)Review
So a full breakdown of the yearlist:
The final score was 215 species in all, beating my life list at the start of the year and a fantastic total considering its my first time doing one. I could not be more thrilled with the result. In that I managed to clock up 43 lifers, which is a vast improvement on the one in 2013. Below is the full list of the lifers in 2014:
Two-Barred Crossbill, Smew, Scaup, Spotted Redshank, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Lesser Whitethroat, Black-Necked Grebe, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Little Stint. Corn Bunting, Pectoral Sandpiper, Slavonian Grebe, Bridled Tern, Green Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Little Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Black Tern, Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Sooty Shearwater, Black-Throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Long-Tailed Skua, Wryneck, Common Rosefinch, Icterine Warbler, Red-Necked Grebe, Barred Warbler, Masked Shrike, Yellow-Browed Warbler, Lapland Bunting, Firecrest, Grey Phalarope, Raddes Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Rough-Legged Buzzard, Isabelline Wheatear, Blyth's Pipit, Iceland Gull,
So, the complete yearlist for 2014, all 215 species:
Starling, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Common Gull, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Blackcap, Great Tit, Robin, Common Pheasant, Black-Headed Gull, Wren, Mallard, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Goosander, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Rook, Collard Dove, Lapwing, Redwing, Feildfare, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Long-Tailed Tit, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Sparrowhawk, Meadow Pipit, Siskin, Red Grouse, Song Thrush, Jay, Common Crossbill, Two Barred Crossbill, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Common Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Redshank, Goldeneye, Kingfisher, Gadwall, Smew, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Common Snipe, Stock Dove, Wigeon, Yellowhammer, Brambling, Willow Tit, Bittern, Mediterranean Gull, Oystercatcher, Lesser Redpoll, Dunlin, Shelduck, Raven, Curlew, Chiffchaff, Skylark, House Martin, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Peregrine, Mandarin, Linnet, Northern Wheatear, Tawny Owl, Sand Martin, Golden Plover, Yellow-Legged Gull, Dipper, Kittywake, Ruff, Willow Warbler, Swallow, Scaup, Ring Ouzel, Red-Legged Partridge, Merlin, Canada Goose, Stonechat, Graylag Goose, Grey Partridge, Red Kite, Little Egret, Turnstone, Avocet, Sandwich Tern, Egyptian Goose, Brent Goose, Little Gull, Spotted Redshank, Black-Tailed Godwit, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Marsh Harrier, Sanderling, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Fulmar, Red Crested Pochard, Sedge Warbler, Bearded Tit, Cettis Warbler, Pink-Footed Goose, Lesser Whitethroat, Little Owl, Barnacle Goose, Common Sandpiper, Black-Necked Grebe, Gargany, Whimbrel, Common Tern, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Tree Pipit, Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Swift, Yellow Wagtail, Arctic Tern, Glossy Ibis, Greenshank, Great White Egret, Little Stint, Cuckoo, Corn Bunting, Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Green Woodpecker, Pectoral Sandpiper, Slavonian Grebe, Eider, Gannet, Puffin, Common Guillemot, Shag, Razorbill, Red-Breasted Merganser, Bridled Tern, Long-Eared Owl, Green Sandpiper, Hobby, Spoonbill, Little Tern, Knot, Rock Pipit, Manx Shearwater, Barn Owl, Arctic Skua, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Skua, Black Tern, Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Short-Eared Owl, Osprey, Pintail, Purple Sandpiper, Garden Warbler, Sooty Shearwater, Black-Throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Red-Throated Diver, Long-Tailed Skua, Wryneck, Common Rosefinch, Icterine Warbler, Red-Backed Shrike, Roseate Tern, Red-Necked Grebe, Barred Warbler, Masked Shrike, Yellow-Browed Warbler, Jack Snipe, Lapland Bunting, Firecrest, Whooper Swan, Grey Phalarope, Raddes Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Rough-Legged Buzzard, Snow Bunting, Little Auk, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodcock, Blyths Pipit, Iceland Gull
Not a bad list! Personal highlights? I think finally seeing Corn Bunting must be one of the highlights of the year, after suffering through it remaining unticked in my I-Spy book for a meager five points its now finally there and out of the way, especially given when I saw it I had just dipped long-tailed skua!
-Corn BuntingNone Birds
Of course, in recent years I would have had far more to write about here given the lack of birds, but this year I only have a handful of none bird lifers and events to write about. On the dragonfly front I clocked up a good few species, 8 in total, but that included my solitary lifer this year, Red-Veined Darter, seen while I was working at Spurn on clubleys field. It took a while to find them but they were well worth it.
-Red Veined Darter
It was also just the one lifer for butterflies, but what a lifer it was. I have long wanted to see Clouded Yellow but their migratory nature makes them hard to get hold of, even at a site where they have a good track record. I only saw them on one day but there were at least 5 and I eventually tracked one down that would sit still for a decent photo. They were lovely butterflies, and far more yellow than I had imagined.
I don't usually keep track of mammals but they had a very good year, with great views of both Fox and Badger in Sheffield, and then the others that I have seen on trips. The Mountain Hares showed incredibly well in the peaks, being able to get great views of them in their white coats. But the best mammal has to be the Minke Whale that swam past Spurn that time. Steve Exleys reaction and then the following views made it one of the wildlife highlights of the year, a great encounter.
Wow, thats a lot of breakdown but I think its fair to say that this year has needed it. Hopefully next year will have more of the same, and maybe I can even beat this years total! We shall see...
Happy New Year!!